1-28-2015 Blueberry Pancake Day

DSC01757Another January, another blizzard. I was amazed at how accurately they predicted this one! We were supposed to get between 18 and 24 inches, we got around 20″. There was a huge amount drifting, so it’s hard to tell for sure, one has to stick the yard stick in several places and average! More impressive was that they said it would start snowing in Southern NH around nine, and that’s exactly when it did start. I took a picture just before we went to bed, and there had been around four inches. A bit later Peripegelium decided to see if she could get past the accumulation on the step, and I wasn’t quite fast enough grabbing the camera to catch her with just her ear tips and tail sticking out- only her dashing for the heater in Kat’s room in disgust!

DSC01758We got ready beforehand. We did the “bread and milk” run, had the cisterns full, the kerosene heater filled, the lamps ready, the dishes and laundry caught up, and the electronic devices charged up. We did not bother to shovel all day on Tuesday while the snow was falling- it seemed pointless. Instead Kat and I watched the second season of Downton Abbey, and did hand sewing. We had a lovely pot of chili (two actually as Kat can’t deal with the beans, so I separated hers before adding them), and made some cornbread in the mold with the snowflakes. Kat’s working on a quilted skirt herself. The pre-quilted fabric is very clever, but what a pain to have to clip out the quilting, and snip out the fluff to sew the seams! Mines plain red, hers is a lovely lavender paisley/stripe floral on one side and coordinated floral on the other.
DSC01759We were not sure whether we’d lose power or not- apparently the winds further south were very strong, and the snows were heavy. But we seem to have come through just fine. This morning we got up and shoveled out, and some neighbor I didn’t recognize with a plow on his truck came by and did a couple of swipes across the end of the driveway, thus cutting our shoveling down by about two hours, bless him! Steve tells me it costs him an hundred dollars to get his driveway shoveled, so I’m feeling quite lucky This is John starting out- and measuring the snow.

The other big event of the week was the SCA event: Marketplace at Birka. Our biggest challenge was that Willow and I were coming out of being sick- as was John, who, while he doesn’t go to events, helps us carry the goods to the van. It must be the van because the barony has about 15 bins of Gold Key loaner garb. They spend most of the year in the storage in Manchester, but come out for Birka. The rest of the year we usually carry about four bins (one mens, one womens, one childrens, and some accessories) around to smaller events, but Birka is huge. For the last decade it’s been held in the Expo Center in Manchester (luckily only a few minutes away from the Storage place). This year the Verizon Center was having some huge event, and so the parking was even more problematic than usual. So we put our goods in Willow’s car, the Gold Key (we still had from Crown Tourney) in the van, and headed off about noon on Friday.

EkkeatBirkaThe event runs from 6 on Friday until Saturday night, with the hundreds of merchants closing down at around 8 pm. Actually, many start packing up around 5 when Royal Court starts because the crowds really thin out then.
This year we’d asked to get closer to the rest-rooms, which I really liked. The last several years our tables have been at the far end of the hall, and I know so many people it takes me about a half hour to get from one end to the other from stopping and saying hi to everyone I know- and my bladder wanted me to be faster! We were right across from Ekke and Julia, and would have had Tish and Andrew on the other side (Jane catty-cornered from us), but there was a “storm” (3-6 inches) predicted, and they didn’t make it. The “tile roof” addition is how they hide their lighting- I think it’s cool and want one.
I think a lot of people from the Boston area also didn’t come. It’s hard for cities to deal with a lot of snow, and snow on the roads makes driving a bitch. It was snowing on the way up Saturday morning, and we slid gently into the back of another car at a stoplight in Bedford. We stopped and exchanged information, but it didn’t look like there was any damage, and the other guy was in a hurry to get to an appointment and said he’d wipe off the snow and look for damage later. Willow noticed he had dealer plates, so maybe the car has to be “perfect”- anyway when he called back Monday, he said that the tire cover had been cracked. I’d only seen our bumpers touching and think maybe it was cracked in some other exchange where he got no contact information, but what can you do? We did the right thing and are going to pay for it. We DID slide into him.  Both he and Willow agree that $400+ is a lot of money for a decorative piece of plastic, which is what a spare wheel cover is.  Oh well. I also slipped and took a cartoon-like spill in the icy driveway on the way out. That combination of snow over ice is REALLY slippery.
10933877_10205017961944544_5309625719346186855_nThe big worry was whether Kat, who, having nursed us all when we were all three sick, had started fading last Thursday. Since she runs Gold Key, she is REALLY needed at Birka, and we were worried that we might have to handle it without her. Luckily we didn’t. She’s tired, but she put on a non-contamination mask (boy! those things are hot, I wore one on Friday, she wore hers all weekend) and seems to have squeaked by. (BTW, the runes she’s embroidered around her head scarf say something like “runes are fussy, knotwork is time consuming so here’s a pretty flower:  ❀”  She had to take the mask off to eat- we ate in the hotel restaurant.  She did have a young (15?) girl named Aschenputtel  (German for Cinderella) as an assistant. Between dressing people who didn’t have garb they repaired ones that needed it. (Kat has gotten QUITE irate at the people who try to squeeze into garb that is too small and strain the seams and fabric.) One gown was so fragile that it really couldn’t be loaned out anymore, and Aschenputtel liked it so much that Kat gave it to her. So she had a gown for the ball. So now Kat’s a fairy godmother!
Tiberius PelI find it really weird to have an SCA event in an hotel. Everyone is wandering around in garb, in persona, but going from hotel room to hotel room- via elevator. It breaks my brain. One of our friends, Tiberius, was elevated to the Order of the Pelican at Court (while we packed up, as I told him, I avoid courts). He had his vigil in an hotel room. They booked two rooms so people could wait and speak to him one at a time. I did go up to congratulate him. The fighting, and court, were in the ballroom, (I didn’t even go over to that end of the hotel.) I did go up to the function rooms where there was a “fireside” (thanks to a fireplace app on a cell phone) discussion about the dream- I’ve been thinking about that off and on since then.
Avi brought her kids and her mother to Birka. Sue helped her chase the kids around, but I think she also had a good time! They were going to join us for dinner after we’d packed up, but couldn’t wait that long since Avi had to work the next day. We tried for our usual dinner at the Chinese Buffet but it was closing when we arrived, and we at at Chilibees (Applebees or Chilis, I don’t know and they’re almost the same anyway). The next day we were happy just to sit and recover.
So that’s about it- kind of a concerted, intentional “not doing anything” (except for Birka) this week. I wrote a fairly cranky and possibly self-indulgent blog about “Privilege“. (I don’t think we are privileged to force our causes on other people all the time.) As I probably mentioned last week, I am really enjoying Downton Abbey. This weekend someone said that I was the “dowager countess” of the East Kingdom. As cool as Dame Maggie’s character is: Ouch! I think I relate more to Mrs. Padmore the cook, but hope I am not as short tempered when under stress. Since I often bustle around the kitchen (and sometimes into the pantry) while “watching”, we’ve discovered that you can’t leave the show for even a minute or two or you miss an important plot or character point. The writing is really tight! The second season was about WWI, and I was pleased that they included both the Spanish Flu and spiritualism, which were important cultural influences. In bed I’m reading the Dragon on the Border, and Yul: the Man who would be king by his son. He was apparently both a musician and an acrobat in his youth. Also Amazon offered people with Amazon Prime free kindle version of The Very Best of Charles de Lint. Marvelous. The very first bit (in which Jilly Coppercorn is introduced) contains that wonderful  quote “Everything is the way it is because we’ve all agreed that’s the way it is.”  All artists need to read The Onion Girl. If there weren’t so many great books I “need” to read, I’d re-read his Newford books every year. I’ve also picked up The Saxon Savior: The Germanic Transformation of the Gospel in the Ninth-Century Heliand again- when it comes to distractions, my room is a minefield of interesting books. I’m also still listening to the Integrated history of Greece and Rome courses. I guess I just can’t deal with something to think about/distract me.
Liz apparently had a big weekend, too. She organizes fund raisers these days and this was a costume ball. She had a clipping of her in costume in the newspaper, but this one is cuter! She decided to go for comfortable rather than sexy this time and I think she’s adorable. She also tells me our Aunt Amanda has fallen and broken a hip- for someone as active as she usually is, that must be so frustrating!
I may have forgotten something, (for example, tonight my podcast was about Weather Magick– when we didn’t know whether losing power for a few days was only possible or probable, I scheduled several days of holidays to post on LiveJournal, and that if they didn’t hear from me, they’d run an archive on weather magick. Since I had power, I did the show live.) but since I am still rebuilding my strength (they used to understand that that was necessary- as shown in Downton Abbey as a rest hospital) I should head to bed before midnight.
If you’re in New England, let me know how much snow you got. If you’re not, feel free to gloat. We’ll gloat when you have 110 degree summers.
The beginning of a friendship, the fact that two people out of the thousands around them can meet and connect and become friends, seems like a kind of magic to me. But maintaining a friendship requires work. I don’t mean that as a bad thing. Good art requires work as well. Charles de Lint

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